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New shipping hub emerges in central Oman

Article - November 21, 2014

Duqm is home to a Special Economic Zone, complete with world-class infrastructure, including a port, which will serve the area’s mining and other associated activities.

IN THE NEAR FUTURE, THE PORT OF DUQM WILL ALSO HAVE LINKS TO A NEW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THE NATIONAL RAILWAY

Oman is a country rich with natural resources, which means that much of its economy is based on the drilling for oil and gas, and on the mining of minerals buried deep beneath the earth’s surface. And yet the extent to which these activities can benefit Oman’s exports is largely dependent on the transportation industry. That’s where the Port of Duqm, in the mineral-rich Al Wusta governorate, comes in.

Duqm is comprised of world-class infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology, which will allow this port to grow into an increasingly significant part of the economic landscape for Oman. Its location is also extremely advantageous. Rien Van de Ven, the CEO of Port of Duqm Company says, “If you look at the trading lines on a map, they all pass by Duqm so Duqm will be an excellent trans-shipment hub.” It would seem that Duqm is poised to become the new Middle Eastern center for industry, business and shipping.

Mr. Van de Ven clarifies, however, that Duqm is not meant to compete with Salalah or Sohar – transport hubs already thriving in other parts of Oman. “Duqm itself doesn’t have the same population behind it like Sohar,” he says. Indeed, there are just over 11,000 people in Duqm, compared to over 100,000 in Sohar. “Duqm is not meant to be an end destination but a starting point,” he says.

The sultanate of Oman has experienced sustained GDP growth over the last 20 years. Mr. Van de Ven says this has a lot to do with Oman’s international outlook, which is facilitated by its ports. “Oman has always been a natural trading country with old trade routes and a rich maritime history,” he says. “The people are used to open-minded trade. This trade brings cultures together and has developed a liberal mind. Oman is wide open to international activities.”

But while Duqm’s most important purpose at the moment is facilitating the transportation of oil, Mr. Van de Ven says it ultimately serves an even more significant purpose. “There will come a time when the use of oil will change, therefore you need other things to fuel the economy and keep people working. So Duqm is a post-oil development plan.”

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